Second Committee Statement on Agenda Item 24 “Agriculture development, food security, and nutrition”

Emma Locatelli
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 26, 2019


Mr. Chairperson, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Australian delegation for their leadership, creativity, and collegiality in facilitating this resolution.  The United States, as the single largest bilateral donor to programs to reduce hunger and to promote global food security, remains committed to promoting agricultural development, food security and nutrition worldwide.  We are pleased to join consensus on this resolution.

However, we take this opportunity to make important points of clarification on some of the language contained in this resolution.

Regarding references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement, reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as paragraphs referencing climate, world trade, and technology transfer, we refer you to our Global Explanation of Position delivered on November 21, 2019.

Regarding preambular paragraph (PP) 12, the United States has consistently supported many important goals of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, such as investing in infrastructure, protecting the environment, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and many others. We are concerned, however, by language in Agenda 2063 committing to reducing food imports which could have a negative impact on food security and may not be consistent with trade obligations of African Members of the WTO, and we hope to hold further discussions with the AU on this issue.

On PP24, the UN should not be dictating scopes of work to independent organizations, especially with no clear way of funding.

On PP26, WTO-consistent trade remedy measures and enforcement actions taken to protect our economy from the unfair and market-distorting trade practices of others are not “protectionist.”  The United States does not advocate protectionism, but we also see no utility in reaffirming stale calls to avoid protectionism, a pledge that others routinely violate.  We reiterate the points raised in our November 21 statement – the UN is not an appropriate venue for this discussion.

Regarding PP30 and operative paragraph (OP) 33, the United States supports the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living, including food, as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Domestically, the United States pursues policies that promote access to food, and it is our objective to achieve a world where everyone has adequate access to food, but we do not treat the right to food as an enforceable obligation.  The United States does not recognize any change in the current state of conventional or customary international law regarding rights related to food.  The United States is not a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Accordingly, we interpret this resolution’s references to the right to food, with respect to States Parties to that covenant, in light of its Article 2(1).  We also construe this resolution’s references to member states’ obligations regarding the right to food as applicable to the extent they have assumed such obligations.  We note that countries have a wide array of policies and actions that may be appropriate in promoting the progressive realization of the right to an adequate standard of living, including food.  We therefore, believe that resolutions should not try to define the content of that right, or related rights.

Regarding OP-30 references to “sexual and reproductive health-care services” we would like to direct you to our comments we made on these issues on November 07, 2019 in the Third Committee.

Thank You.